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Emergency two-way radios for what may lie ahead Login/Join 
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
posted
I just bought a pair of Baofeng UV-5R two-way radios off of Amazon for 45 bucks shipped. That was the whole bill- 45 bucks and change. Amazon has a 3.00 coupon you can apply.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09CTSBHMR/

I bought a Baofeng USB programming cable, too. Nine bucks.

The serious radio guys- please don't tell me there are better radios. I know this (if these radios were any cheaper, they'd have to be made out of cardboard), but the if I understand correctly, the UV-5R has been sold in the millions and they are used all over the world. For me, this, combined with the price and features, is good enough. This is something I will be using very infrequently, mostly in event of emergency.

I've been thinking about this for a while. I know the serious radio people look down on these things but they work.

It's something to think about. Buy a pair, give one of them to your spouse, show her the rudiments of using it. If something catastrophic happens nationwide, the cellular network will probably go down quickly, and then these gadgets will be worth their weight in gold.
 
Posts: 106949 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Ripley
posted Hide Post
What's the expected range? The link says "long range", a quick scan didn't reveal further details. I understand there are mitigating circumstances.




Set the controls for the heart of the Sun.
 
Posts: 8281 | Location: Flown-over country | Registered: December 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
posted Hide Post
Best I can say at this point is, it depends, but there's a video on youtube (which I have yet to watch) using the 8 watt version of this radio to talk from Atlanta to Seattle. I'm certain this is using a big antenna, repeater, etc.

Peer to peer, though, I don't yet know. Terrain plays a factor, of course.

I don't know much of anything yet, except that with so many of these radios produced, they're not worthless.
 
Posts: 106949 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Do No Harm,
Do Know Harm
posted Hide Post
Honestly, that radio with a slim Jim antenna would be a good start.

https://n9taxlabs.com/

The real challenge, or challenges, are getting to know how to use it-meaning all its functions-and learning the channels in your area.

Obvious disclaimer about needing to be licensed, etc., but I say that because the only way to really be able to use them effectively when you need them is to practice when you don’t need them. All it takes is the other party to hit a button and switch bands or frequencies and they can’t talk to you anymore. With practice, and having the local repeaters programmed, you’ll be set up for success.

Those radios will be “line of sight”. With the standard antenna and not using a repeater, probably a couple of miles. With a repeater, many miles.

The YouTube video is probably using one of several repeater/internet options.




Knowing what one is talking about is widely admired but not strictly required here.

Although sometimes distracting, there is often a certain entertainment value to this easy standard.
-JALLEN

"All I need is a WAR ON DRUGS reference and I got myself a police thread BINGO." -jljones
 
Posts: 11440 | Location: NC | Registered: August 16, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
Picture of sigmonkey
posted Hide Post
Better to have a cardboard box on Gilligan's Island, than sitting on that Island wishing for a cardboard box.


Think for a minute.

Most times, families are only separated by a few to 10s of miles. And if cellular phones go silent, what you gonna do, build a fire, send up smoke signals, con a carrier pigeon? If SHTF, I want/need to communicate with those that mean the most to me. And then, those who are "friends" against those who are not.

I am not trying to nor care to talk with Marvin the Martian on Alpha Centari....

For less than a cup of Starbucks (OK, maybe in a few years will a "Large" (fuck the Venti crap terms) cost the same as a pair of theses cardboard tin can string phones, and even if they don't work, it might hurt if you throw them at someone...

I don't see anyone else posting viable solutions.

Pull your head out of your ass, or pop it out of your ostrich hole, and realize, "things" going on around the world is trying to communicate a message.

I come form people that survive, on both sides.

It is cumulative, the "survivors" pass on information in a way I cannot explain, while those that we "survived" (but they didn't) means, survivors grow stronger and "know stuff" without being able to tell you why.

Either you trust the "Miner's Canaries ", or you (may) parish in the coal mines, ovens, or on a trail of tears...




"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" Ani Yehudi אני יהודי Le'olam lo shuv לעולם לא שוב!
 
Posts: 43704 | Location: ...... I am thrice divorced, and I live in a van DOWN BY THE RIVER!!! (in Arkansas) | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Never miss an opportunity
to be Batman!
Picture of jsbcody
posted Hide Post
Pick up the GMRS license (register, pay a fee, no test). I have a GMRS mobile (50W) in my truck and my sister has a portable 5w cheapie at her house. We are about 10-15 miles apart in suburban area and pick up quite clearly. I have to go to a nearby hilltop and I can pick up my buddy who is 40-45 miles away real clear. I have a Baofeng 5w portable in my home computer room, it is great for picking the weather channels, travel alerts and such.

 
Posts: 3889 | Location: St.Louis County MO | Registered: October 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Wait, what?
Picture of gearhounds
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Without sounding like a scene from Red dawn (John has a long mustache), it would be a reasonable idea to have some kind of coded message system in the plan. Especially if the fed were to be the entity you wanted to keep out of the information loop. They probably have better equipment than most for detecting or intercepting radio traffic.




“Remember to get vaccinated or a vaccinated person might get sick from a virus they got vaccinated against because you’re not vaccinated.” - author unknown
 
Posts: 15437 | Location: Martinsburg WV | Registered: April 02, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
posted Hide Post
Good idea, at least in theory. If all normal forms of communication become inoperative what are the chances going to be making contact with someone of your choosing using one of these. Think of millions in your area panicked and doing anything they can to communicate.Not to mention emergency services. Just curious.



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 19015 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by gearhounds:
Without sounding like a scene from Red dawn (John has a long mustache), it would be a reasonable idea to have some kind of coded message system in the plan. Especially if the fed were to be the entity you wanted to keep out of the information loop. They probably have better equipment than most for detecting or intercepting radio traffic.
I'm not planning on going all G.I. Joe with these things. I want to be able to monitor emergency frequencies and, in the event of cellular outage (which is a very real possibility in a truly catastrophic scenario) be able to communicate with my wife. I would add also being able to summon emergency services, but if things go so bad that I am using this radio, there probably won't be any help coming my way.
 
Posts: 106949 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
Picture of sigmonkey
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by gearhounds:
Without sounding like a scene from Red dawn (John has a long mustache), it would be a reasonable idea to have some kind of coded message system in the plan. Especially if the fed were to be the entity you wanted to keep out of the information loop. They probably have better equipment than most for detecting or intercepting radio traffic.



Yep.

Build a plan of "phrases" then tie them to an "alpha numeric call out", so the call outs have them marched to "pre-designated phrases". This is superior to any "code", as not having any knowledge of the "phrases", the "callouts" are meaningless.

Back in my day, when we were flying missions, we had "bullseye", the "bad guys" di not know where "bullseye" was, so when we called a target from a specific point from "bullseye", they could not know what/where that target was, until after a strike. And after the "SHTF", they might be able to "backtrack" and discover "bullseye", but it did them o good the next mission, where a new bullseye and targets from that were enumerated.

The same thing works for family communication.

Create a few "callouts" that are connected to things only you and your family members know.

Does not matter who hears any or all of your transmitted messages. Only the family will know how they correlate.

Family is first duty.




"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" Ani Yehudi אני יהודי Le'olam lo shuv לעולם לא שוב!
 
Posts: 43704 | Location: ...... I am thrice divorced, and I live in a van DOWN BY THE RIVER!!! (in Arkansas) | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Staring back
from the abyss
Picture of Gustofer
posted Hide Post
I think it was a great purchase. I've encouraged friends and family for years to have a back up means of comms because there's going to come a day when that fancy $1000 brick in your pocket ain't going to work. Several of my like minded friends have gotten into ham radio and several have gone the less laborious and cheaper route such as yourself, which will work fine locally. Keep in mind that when the cell towers go down, the repeaters are likely going down as well...they all take power to run.

To echo chongo's advice, like anything, practice. One thing you might consider is getting a label maker and sticking your go-to frequency on the back as well as a few back-up freqs just in case.


________________________________________________________
"Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil." Doug Patton.
 
Posts: 19883 | Location: Montana | Registered: November 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Told cops where to go for over 29 years…
Picture of 911Boss
posted Hide Post
I am a big fan of “CCR’s” (Cheap Chinese Radios)

In fact, my first HAM radio was a BF UV-5R. They work well as long as you understand their limitations (limitations to all small handheld radios, not specific to just the UV-5R)

That said, I moved on from the BF radios and now have several “better” (meaning more $$$) HAM handheld radios. I am a bit of an handheld addict owning 3 Yaesu HTs, an Anytone DMR HT, a Wouxun HT, and three BaoFeng GMRS handhelds. Even so, I still see the SHTF value of affordable, reliable radios.


I know you said not to, but yes there are “better” radios. As you pointed out though, it comes down to price vs use and features. I have a $450 Yaesu FT-5DR that is capable of all sorts of stuff, that as of yet I don’t use.

Most of my current use can be done with one of these budget radios, and even though I several radios close to or north of $200, and my most frequently used radio is one of these CCRs.

That said, if you are willing to spend a little more ($54 for one, $100 for two units), there is a “Premium” CCR that has recently come out and is getting good reviews. While it is close to “twice” the price of the BF, the low cost of the BF means it isn’t a huge actual cost increase.

When you look at what you get for the extra $50 a pair, I think the extra features and build quality are MORE than worth the increased cost vs. the BF models.


The Tidradio TD-H8 is a legitimate 10w vs. the (advertised) 5w or 8w BF models. I say “legitimate” as the ones I received transmit a measured 9.4/9.6 watts on my power meter. The “5w” BF models I’ve had never put out more than 4 watts and the “8w” model I had (briefly) only put out 5.5 watts.

The TD-H8 seems has a higher build quality with more stout case and seemingly heavier duty buttons. It also has a much nicer and larger display, strong audio output, built in BT programming via phone app, USB-C charging and/or drop in cradle, is FCC type accepted and user configurable as a dual band (VHF/UHF) HAM or GMRS radio.

I picked up a set recently and have been pretty impressed with them so far. Programming via the app is pretty slick and easy to do.

Oh, and I dig the hi-viz neon green case option Wink


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CNCPJZY9






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???


 
Posts: 10898 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
34" Scale 5-String
Picture of bronicabill
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Para, any idea what the difference is between the $45+ set you bought and the one priced at $35.00? I've looked and looked at that link and cannot tell what is missing from the cheaper combo to reduce the price by $10.00...

Edit to add: The only thing I think I see is the cheaper package only has the one set of antennas instead of two...


Bill R.
North Alabama
 
Posts: 4475 | Location: Madison, AL | Registered: December 06, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
A Grateful American
Picture of sigmonkey
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Gustofer:
I think it was a great purchase....






"the meaning of life, is to give life meaning" Ani Yehudi אני יהודי Le'olam lo shuv לעולם לא שוב!
 
Posts: 43704 | Location: ...... I am thrice divorced, and I live in a van DOWN BY THE RIVER!!! (in Arkansas) | Registered: December 20, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Told cops where to go for over 29 years…
Picture of 911Boss
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
Best I can say at this point is, it depends, but there's a video on youtube (which I have yet to watch) using the 8 watt version of this radio to talk from Atlanta to Seattle. I'm certain this is using a big antenna, repeater, etc.

Peer to peer, though, I don't yet know. Terrain plays a factor, of course.

I don't know much of anything yet, except that with so many of these radios produced, they're not worthless.



I’d be REAL curious to see how they are making that happen. I’m admittedly a HAM neophyte, but I can’t conceive of anyway to get VHF or UHF frequencies to go that distance regardless of antenna even with full FCC allowable power output.

VHF and UHF are “line of sight” and theoretically maxes out at 260 miles or so under the best of circumstances. To go Atlanta to Seattle distance you would need to use one of the frequency bands that bounce of the ionosphere to get past the horizon.

http://www.hamuniverse.com/k4msghowfar2meters.html






What part of "...Shall not be infringed" don't you understand???


 
Posts: 10898 | Location: Western WA state for just a few more years... | Registered: February 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
eh-TEE-oh-clez
Picture of Aeteocles
posted Hide Post
Belt and suspenders.

Don't forget to have a plan in case you never get communications online.

I've got a plan that spans several months that basically has a series of waypoints where each of my family members will head toward and will wait for the others for a set period of time. E.g., head home and stay home for the first 72 hours; check in at home and dad's by the end of the first week; Aunt May's by the end of 30 days...so on and so forth.
 
Posts: 13045 | Location: Orange County, California | Registered: May 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I have had several UV-5R radios on standby for a couple of years for just that situation and am working on getting my license.

I used CHIRP software to program the frequencies I wanted to use.

PC

This message has been edited. Last edited by: PCWyoming,
 
Posts: 1325 | Location: NW Wyoming | Registered: November 23, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Para I know nothing about that specific radio but I do know enough that you need to figure out what frequencies you intend to use in what license bands. That particular radio just looking at the amazon ad appears to not be legal for transmitting in the US for an unlicensed person. But if you use it on some of the very common public frequencies that don't normally require an FCC license nobody will care (murs, frs, etc.).
Somebody more knowledgeable than me can tell you the options. And yes having radios around is a great idea. And in SHTF nobody is going to care about frequency allocations, but you probably want to set up things to test and try.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 10918 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Steve in PA
posted Hide Post
I picked up a pair of the UV-5R's a few months ago, just to have around. Cheap, but they work. Easy to "crack".

I also picked up a better GMRS radio, a Wouxun KG-935+. Can only transmit on GMRS channels, but you can listen to Ham radio if you put in the frequencies.


Steve
"The Marines I have seen around the world have, the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps." Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945
 
Posts: 3435 | Location: Northeast PA | Registered: June 05, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Stupid
Allergy
Picture of dry-fly
posted Hide Post
Lots of us HAMS have a UV5R. Only trick is to find your local repeaters and get them programmed.


"Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway." Steve McQueen...
 
Posts: 6974 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: July 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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